Hove Park’s Year 9 Under 14 football squad were not only the pride of the school yesterday, but of Brighton & Hove too as they played in the finals of the ESFA National Schools Cup Final at the Madejski Stadium at Reading FC.
Despite being defeated by an incredibly strong team from Thomas Telford School, getting so far in a national competition is an amazing achievement. The Hove Park boys have had an incredible season, also becoming Sussex champions after winning the County Cup final earlier this month.
A coach full of fans including students, teachers and parents travelled to Reading yesterday and despite the heavy rain created an atmosphere of support and excitement in the stands. The match was streamed live on YouTube enabling many more of the school community to watch the game and the commentary gave it the feel of a professional game.
Hove Park was given a standing ovation at the end and the boy were commended on their performance as well as being very gracious in defeat.
Team manager Mr Mark Pulling said: “It’s a fantastic achievement to have reached the final. In this competition we play against teams with a lot of professional academy players representing their school sides. Our side only has one academy player so the boys should be immensely proud of themselves. We’ve competed against schools with better resources and facilities, which encourage them to be able to spend more time training with their teams. It’s a really positive thing for the school that we were able to take so many spectators yesterday. It shows that the school community is very strong and supportive of their peers.”